Posted by AF [AF] on December 07, 2000 at 16:08:40
In Reply to: Talk Radio posted by 7 on December 07, 2000 at 12:20:05
All that this type of experience shows is that JWs know how to fool some people with "explanations" that only sound reasonable to the naive.
If Tony had had to deal with knowledgeable critics he would quickly have been reduced to tears. I know some critics who regularly reduce JWs who come to their doors to jello. Experience therefore proves that JWs only have real success when arguing with people who don't have all the facts.
Let's prove this with a little example, using the standard JW nonsensical illustration that equates taking alcohol intravenously with taking it by mouth, and "showing" that blood transfusions are therefore a form of eating blood. Let's suppose Carman knew what she was talking about and Tony is being himself:
Tony: The Old Testament says that we are not supposed to take or eat blood.
Carman: Oh? Where?
Tony: In Genesis 9:4 God gave a law to Noah and all mankind not to eat blood. In Leviticus 17 and other places God said not to eat blood but to pour it on the ground.
Carman: Who is Leviticus written for? Jews or Christians?
Tony: For Jews. Christians are not under the Law.
Carman: Then why are you applying Leviticus to Christians?
Tony: Uh, well, Christians can get principles out of the Law of Moses and apply them in their lives.
Carman: Oh? How do you as a Christian determine just what commands are principles that Christians must obey and which ones are Laws that Christians don't have to obey?
Tony: Well, our Governing Body tells us which ones.
Carman: Ok, so we've established that you can't answer my question logically. Let's move on.
Carman: Get out your Bible and tell me what Deuteronomy 14:21 says:
Tony: I don't want to.
Carman: Are you afraid to read your Bible?
Tony: No, but you'll probably get clever on me.
Carman: You're afraid. Ok, you've shown you can't deal with a knowledgeable critic. So much for your claims.
Tony: No no no! I'll read it. Ok, the scripture says that Jews can sell dead carcasses to non-Jews and they can eat the unbled meat.
Carman: Aha! Doesn't that tell you something important?
Tony: No. What should it tell me?
Carman: Who is it that told the Jews that gentiles could eat unbled meat?
Tony: God told them.
Carman: Good. Do you think that God would tell Jews that gentiles were free to violate his laws?
Tony: Of course not! That would be inconsistent of God.
Carman: Right. So just what does this tell us about how God views gentiles eating unbled carcasses?
Tony: Well, that it was ok to eat them. But wait! That's goes against what our Governing Body teaches! And it goes against what Genesis 9:4 says: You must not eat blood.
Carman: Not so fast. Do you agree that the Bible is consistent? You already agreed that God wouldn't expressly allow gentiles to violate his stated laws.
Tony: Well, yeah, the Bible is consistent. But then that means that Deuteronomy goes against what Genesis says about eating blood.
Carman: Not at all. You just have to understand the somewhat unclear statement in Genesis in light of the very clear statement in Deuteronomy. Doesn't that make sense?
Tony: I guess so. But what does it all mean?
Carman: Well it's simple: Deuteronomy says that gentiles are allowed by God to eat the meat of unbled animals that were just found dead. Genesis 9:4 says not to eat meat with blood in it. It's easy to reconcile the two: Genesis 9:4 actually means don't eat the blood of animals you've specifically killed for food. Now isn't that simple?
Tony: I guess so.
Carman: You don't seem convinced. Look at it this way: Genesis 9 is all about respecting life, not about respecting blood. God simply said not to eat the blood of animals we've killed for food, because then we're showing respect for God's gift of life. But if an animal died by other means, then we haven't taken its life and there's no point in doing anything with its blood. So we can eat it, according to Deuteronomy 14:21.
Tony: Ok, I think I get it now.
Carman: So how do you think this impacts the JW notion that Christians shouldn't take blood transfusions because they're a form of eating blood?
Tony: Well, the donor isn't killed for food, and isn't even killed at all, so Genesis 9:4 can't apply.
Carman: That's right! Therefore that scripture can't be used against blood transfusions.
Tony: But wait! The thought of taking blood is disgusting to me! It's no different from eating it through your mouth! That's horrible!
Carman: No, eating and taking a transfusion are very different things.
Tony: Not really. If a doctor tells you to abstain from alcohol, do you think that he means you can take the alcohol intravenously?
Carman: Of course not. But the two situations are quite different.
Tony: No they're not! In both cases you're eating. It's just that in the intravenous case you're eating by a different route.
Carman: Tony, you're not thinking clearly. What happens when alcohol gets into the stomach? Is it digested or what?
Tony: No, it's not digested. It's absorbed directly through the stomach and intestinal linings into the blood stream. Then the liver gradually digests it by breaking it down into fatty acids and water.
Carman: That's right. Now what happens when blood gets into the stomach?
Tony: Well, it's digested like any other food. Then the components are absorbed into the blood stream.
Carman: Good! Now what happens when alcohol and donor blood are put directly into the blood stream intravenously?
Tony: Well, the alcohol is broken down by the liver, and the blood just does it's normal thing.
Carman: So is the blood digested?
Carman: Right. So taking a transfusion can't be a form of eating if the blood isn't even digested, right?
Carman: But taking alcohol through the veins or the mouth has the same result, namely, the alcohol is broken down and digested by the liver, right?
Tony: Well, yeah.
Carman: So your analogy between blood transfusions and eating alcohol is wrong, correct?
Tony: Well, I guess so.
Carman: What do you mean, you guess so? Is it right or is it wrong?
Tony: Ok, it's a bad analogy. But, but ...
Carman: I see this doesn't set well. Think about this analogy: Suppose your doctor tells you that you have a diseased liver and can't digest meat properly. He tells you to abstain from meat from now on, or you're liable to go into liver failure and die. So you don't eat meat. A year later the doctor tells you that your best chance of recovery is to get a liver transplant. Tell me, Tony: is the doctor contradicting himself when he tells you not to eat meat, but then turns around and tells you to get a liver transplant?
Tony: Well, no. Getting a liver transplant is not the same as eating a liver.
Carman: Ok, fine. Why not?
Tony: Because the transplant is just moving the organ from one body to another. It isn't being eaten because it isn't digested.
Carman: Ok, so what does that tell you about a blood transfusion -- which is just another kind of organ transplant -- as opposed to eating blood?
Tony: Well, that a transfusion isn't the same as eating blood. Ok, now I understand.
Carman: Good! So, Tony, in light of our discussion, can you still say that the Old Testament tells Christians not to eat blood?
Tony: Well, only some kinds of blood.
Carman: What kinds of blood?
Tony: Blood from animals killed for food.
Carman: Good! Now what does the Old Testament tell Christians about blood transfusions?
Carman: Right! You're getting the idea!
Tony: But what about what we're told in Acts 15? The apostles determined by holy spirit that we should abstain from blood. Doesn't that include transfusions?
Carman: Ok, think about it: What are the abstentions mentioned in Acts 15 based on? What do the passages themselves say the apostles based their decision on?
Tony: Well, on readings from Moses.
Carman: Good! And what did Moses have to say about blood transfusions and eating blood?
Tony: Nothing about transfusions, and that Jews shouldn't eat any blood at all, and that gentiles shouldn't eat blood from animals killed for food.
Carman: Right. So how does that affect your understanding of what the phrase "abstain from blood" in Acts 15 means?
Tony: Well, it must mean pretty much what we discussed up to this point.
Carman: That's right. So can Acts 15 be saying anything about blood transfusions?
Tony: I suppose not.
Carman: Right. And if the Bible says nothing about blood transfusions, should any Christian tell another Christian that taking a transfusion is against God's law?
Tony: Well .... no.
Carman: And if any Christian presumes to prohibit another Christian from doing what God himself does not prohibit, what does that say about the presumptuous Christian?
Tony: That he's not a very good Christian.
Carman: Right! So are the leaders of Jehovah's Witnesses very good Christians?
Tony: Uh ....
Carman: That's ok. You need more time to think about this.